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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The day that fell off the calendar': 16 June, South African newspapers, and the making of a national holiday, 1977-1996
Author:Johnson, Rachel E.
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:Soweto uprising
Abstract:This article explores the repertoire of commemorative activities that developed around the anniversary of the fatal 16 June 1976 Soweto schoolchildren's march against the imposition of Afrikaans. It uses the coverage of 16 June commemorations from 1977 up to 1996 to think through the role of newspapers, journalists and editors in the framing of this day as a 'national' moment. Newspaper reports reveal ongoing conversations and debates over who were, and who should be, commemorating 16 June; how they should do so; the place of young people in this commemorative community; and the intersecting boundaries of race, nation and commemoration. I argue that examining this contested commemorative tradition and the ways in which English-language newspapers tell national narratives through their reporting offers one way of gaining a 'clearer sense of the national' in the history of the liberation struggle. My aim is not so much a comprehensive picture of the struggle as it played out within the borders of South Africa, but rather to ask how it was that the liberation struggle was thought, performed and narrated as national. The article reveals a range of actors beyond the liberation organisations involved in these processes. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]